Veganly Delicious

Julie-Juliaing one cookbook at a time.

Let’s Get Ready to Slow Cook! (Menus #1 & 2)

on November 11, 2012

Work is working me dead.

Sorry everyone, for being so quiet. But it’s only seven more weeks (sigh) of working overtime. I also started working out so basically my day starts at 3:50am and I keep going until 9:00pm when I fall into a very amazing dead to the world sleep, and then I rinse, and repeat. I have some reviews to post up (I was busy testing out some recipes from a few review copies books that I got recently,so it’s going to be a big posting baloozza)
And I’m running on hot chocolate right now. Not even breakfast. That’s how bad I feel about ignoring you guys.

So the plan had been to compare two crockpot cookbooks. It was a brilliant plan. However, I got really tired of that idea really quickly. It’s easier to concentrate on one for these kind of reviews, so I am going to do the one I had picked first.

 

The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.

This was one book I purchased that didn’t have “Celine & Joni, Isa & Terry, Robin or Dreena” attached to the cover. The reason why I chose this book (to buy) was kinda 2-3 fold.

A: Isa reviewed it and had a comment on the cover. (This instantly makes me sit up and take notice)
B: My friend Val had it and had great results from it.
C: I needed a vegan slow cooker cookbook.

It really was that simple. I am a simple person.

This book was published in 2011 by Fair Winds Press (The home of Joni & Celine). So right away your book quality is good, and there are a decent amount of pictures. Not rift like Allyson’s, or Kelly’s books but a decent amount of pictures. The book is going for a “grunge” kinda thing with the font. (Like the main font is a spray-painty motif, which carries on to the headings of the chapters and the recipes themselves. Kinda cute). There are 150 recipes for your tummy’s pleasure. (Why thank you Kathy. I can’t wait).

This actually fits in my cookbook stand. Colour me surprised.

What  I like about this book is that you have the title of the recipe like so

RECIPE TITLE
a little blurb underneath.

And then the ingredients on one side, and how to proceed.

Note: if you are one of those people who don’t like the prep work for your slow cooker – ie: doing some sauteing, etc and whatever, then you aren’t going to like this book. I’m just saying. It is hilarious how many people get upset/mad that the book isn’t a big “dump and go” thing. Don’t get me wrong – there is a lot of “dump” and “go” in this book, but there is always a bit of prep to get the best, ultimate flavour. Do do it.

The book is broken down to
Slow Cooker Basics (what to do with your slow cooker, the history of it, basically: read your manufacture instructions. They built the thing, they know how to use it).

Then there are Twelve chapters dedicated to yummy yummy eats And breakfast is all the way at the end. (It just beats out desserts. I will never understand why poor breakfast gets the shaft and is stuck at the end. Don’t worry breakfast! I ❤ you!) The font is readable, It looks a little like Arial (nice and rounded, 12 font) so easy to read. (Thank you).

The one drawback is – you don’t really know what size crockpot to use. It’s not listed anywhere in the basics (I looked) or in the recipes, unless your specifically told it’s for a baby crockpot (1 1/2-2 1/2 quart). I found that really strange. I emailed Kathy and she said most of the recipes are for a 3.5-4 quart while some can. go to a 6 quart depending on the recipe. (so there you go, write it down).  I just found it really strange that it wasn’t there. Everything else (serving sizes, length of time in said crockpot, etc) was listed.

Menu #one was:
Cranberry Vanilla Quinoa
Sweet Potato & Swiss Chard Dal.

Menu #Two is
Balsamic Onion Marmalade
Apple Sage Sausage
Savoury Cheddar Sausage Bread
Chickn’ And Mushroom Casserole
Cheddar Broccoli Rice. 

 

The cranberry Vanilla Quinoa (with slivered almonds) was really good, however I don’t think I would make it again, or if I did, I would make it with steel cut oatmeal. The reason: texture, texture, texture. It came out really soft, and there was no real “bite” to it. I just can’t handle … certain kinds of mush, for a lack of a better word. Something that you always need to remember is that the seasoning kind of… melts away in the crockpot. so I always added a bit more salt and a tbsp. of maple syrup to kick up the flavour.

This was great for leftovers and it kept me full all day. Had I thought about it, I would have swirled a little cranberry apple butter in it as well, to help thicken it up. So I will probably make it again – but again just to be more wary about the ‘mush’.

I finally found a use for all my sweet potatoes – and made this dal. I love Indian food, and this was just fantastically delicious. I passed out (literally) from exhaustion when I was making it, and my roommate (Bless her) turned off my crockpot for me. Ergo – she didn’t know that I had to add the chard in for the last 20 minutes of cooking. Luckily, I used my steamer, and swirled it in, and there was no problems. (so a little trouble shooting for you).

This was fan-freaking-tastic. Extra S&P were needed to just enhance the flavours, but yum.mo. I was very sad when this was over.

And now a little lament.

I suffer from Week Two-Itis. If you watch the Biggest Loser (I don’t any more), you always hear Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels, My Future Husband Dolvett Quince complain about the “Week Two” syndrome, where people don’t lose weight, no matter what they do, blah blah blah blah.

Since I started this blog, I’ve never had a cooking issue except for one certain meal, during the second week. It is nuts, it is crazy, I can’t explain it.

With Quick and Easy Low Cal Vegan Comfort Food – it was the Lasagna.
Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats – It was the Compassionate Calamari
With this book –  it was the balsamic onion marmalade.

Y’all have had marmalade, or you know what it is supposed to do. Be nice and spreadable. No siree, not mine, mine is a bunch of (delicious, smelling) onions, and a big crock of liquid. I don’t know what happened, I can’t even explain it. Most likely, it’s because I used agave as my sugar (the option was sugar, agave or maple syrup). Maybe that means I had a bit more liquid and it needed to steam more. Maybe my onions were too much. It’s a mystery. So It’s not the actual thing I wanted, however, I have rice, so I know if I mix this up with rice and some steamed Brussels sprouts, I should be good to go. But honestly. Week 2 curse struck again.

The sausage, was a bit of the same. It came out awesome (Kathy doesn’t specify what sage to use, I used rubbed, not ground), and it came out in like some chunks, but still loose. I was expecting like a loaf or something to break up. (also my middle never really set, while the ends were geting nice and sausage-y. But it tasted great. So this is the first time in Week 2, I didn’t have to throw anything out. Woo and hoo.

The curse struck again in the form of the rice and broccoli dish. I swear I had brown rice. But I didn’t. I wrote brown rice  on my shopping list and I somehow, for whatever reason, bought a big bag of white rice. (Not even jasmine or basmati. Boring old white). I wasn’t sure of the liquid measurements, so I figured, hey, why not use the little bit of long-grain wild rice, and mix it with the brown, and it’s still healthy, and it will work, right?

Well yes. If you like really hard, chewy rice. I keep forgetting wild rice is more of a grass (now YOU know), then a grain, so it takes more water, and longer to cook. So I’ve once again have hard, chewy, rice. Way to go week 2.

(and just to finish everything, my casserole looks a little bit, a touch, dried out. I am hoping once it gets warmed up, the liquid will release, and make it all nice and edible). My bread is cooking right now.

Oh and I made Boullion. I don’t know what it was supposed to look like, but mine is thick and awesome, very flavourable. <– that is a word. I just invented it.

So there we have it. 3 weeks of posting done in one mammoth post. Time to do some reviews, but first we break for some cookie making.

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